Almost 60 years ago, the British automotive company MINI was born as a response to the fuel shortage in Britain. Despite the unusual circumstances that MINI was founded upon, it has grown to become a global automotive manufacturer that is well-loved for its instantly recognisable design.
Six decades on, MINI has remained as one of the most economical and affordable automotive brands in the world. Let UCARS take you through a crash course on the history of this British automotive icon!
THE MINI SOLUTION
In 1956, the Suez Canal crisis caused a fuel shortage in Britain, which caused fuel companies to ration their fuel and a surge in popularity of compact cars such as the Fiat. However, Leon Leonard – head of the British Motor Company (BMC) – wanted to be less reliant on foreign cars and instead had their own British miniature car. Hence, he requested English-Greek designer Alec Issigonis to create a car that could fit in a 10x4x4 feet (3×1.2×1.2 metres) box, and could use existing BMC engines to save cost on the cars.
The first MINI was thus rolled out under the Morris company as a two-door sedan. It could fit four adults, and was available at an affordable price for most Brits. This remarkable innovation inspired many automotive companies to follow suit and create their own miniature, yet spacious cars.
A FASHION STATEMENT
As the ‘60s rolled around, so did the MINI into pop culture. Celebrities were seen rolling up in a MINI everywhere they went. Known for the fun and quirky design during its time, the MINI started being featured in movies, with The Italian Job as one of the most popular films to have a MINI getaway chase.
The nimble, inexpensive and compact MINI created a name for itself as a must-have fashion piece that people wanted and could afford. It is a symbol of British independence and captures the very essence of the youthful 1960s culture.
RACING TO THE TOP
Alec Issigonis decided to take up the challenge of entering MINI the world of motorsport as he was encouraged by his friend John Cooper who realised the potential of the MINI to compete. With an improved 848cc mini engine, a closer-ratio gearbox and front disc brakes, the MINI Cooper.
The Cooper made its first debut in motorsport in the 1963/1964 Monte Carlo rally with Paddy Hopkirk taking the wheel, and brought both him and the Cooper fame as motorsport legends overnight with an overall win. The icing on the top was during the 1966 rally where the MINI took a 1, 2, 3 win under Timo Mäkinen, Rauno Aaltonen, and Paddy Hopkirk.
A MINI FOR EVERYONE
Over the years, the MINI has evolved from the BMC MINI, to the Leyland MINI, and the Rover MINI. In 1994, BMW acquired Rover and sold everything except the MINI. BMW eventually unveiled the new MINI at the Paris Auto Show and launched it in 2001. The new MINI is larger than the old MINI, but still retains its compact nature.
Today, the MINI retains its fun and vibrant nature by providing various designs, colours and versions catered to everyone. This includes the John Cooper, MINI S, MINI Clubman and the all new MINI Countryman. From the classic hatchback to a convertible top, along with an all-electric Cooper, MINI has carved its name in the automotive industry and has shown that it is here to stay.
Looking to get a MINI? Look no further as UCARS has new and used MINI Cooper, Clubman and Countryman cars suited to your every need. Our online platform over 240 car dealers is here to provide you with the best selection of quality MINIs in Singapore.